Reigns – Lashley Brawl: WWE decided to do something different and actually have a good start to Raw this week. The brawl between Roman Reigns and Bobby Lashley was well done and intense. Both guys played their parts well. It was a case where sometimes actions are better than words at selling a match. The words that followed in their back stage interviews later in the show were not nearly as effective as this brawl is selling how much they dislike each other. This match hasn’t had a good build, but at least WWE saved the best for the last week before it happens at Extreme Rules.
James & Bliss vs. Jax & Natalya: This was a good tag match that helped to build towards Alexa Bliss’ Women’s Title defense against Nia Jax at the PPV on Sunday. This showed how dominating Jax can be, while also teasing that Bliss will be able to use the Extreme Rules stipulation to her advantage by using weapons like the kendo stick. The announcers did a fine job of reminding the audience that Ronda Rousey will be in the front row for that match which should add intrigue.
Rollins vs. McIntyre: This was a rather ho-hum episode of Raw that was bookended by a strong show-opening brawl and this very good main event between Seth Rollins and Drew McIntyre. McIntyre is looking like a huge star on the rise. I really didn’t know who was going to win this match. I thought it made some sense for Rollins to win to ban McIntyre from the ring side area for his Iron Man Intercontinental Title match against Dolph Ziggler at Extreme Rules. That would give Rollins a needed win and some momentum going into the Title rematch. However, a win for McIntyre also made sense to continue building him up and to put Rollins in jeopardy on Sunday. That mystery of who would win added to the quality of the match. Beyond that, the match was just fun to watch from start to finish with both wrestlers delivering strong performances in the ring and the match built very nicely to Ziggler getting involved and costing Rollins the win.
Strowman – Owens: This is another PPV match that hasn’t had a very good build. This week’s final push involved mostly jokes about Kevin Owens smelling bad after being locked in the porta-potty last week. Owens did the best he could with bad material, but he couldn’t save the lame humor while hiding in Kurt Angle’s office. The steel cage stipulation makes sense in terms of keeping Owens from running away from Braun Strowman, but the reason that Strowman keeps chasing Owens each week hasn’t been well defined. The foundation for this match and feud hasn’t been there.
Coach: Making fun of Jim Ross for breaking his ribs was just an ass move by Jonathan Coachman. He isn’t good at all. In fact, he is terrible at his job. I said he would be when he returned, and I stand by that prediction. His words of each hour are lame. He sides with the heels far too often so that he doesn’t come across as a counterpoint to Corey Graves which is sorely needed on Raw. He doesn’t seem to understand the basics of pro wrestling. He also said that Bayley and Sasha Banks’ careers were on the line in their therapy sessions. So if they can’t get along, I guess they will be fired? What the hell is he talking about? Now that line and some of the others are undoubtedly fed to him, so it isn’t all his fault. But, he is still bad.
Rollins – Ziggler – McIntyre: This is a minor Miss. I wanted to give it a Hit. There were some good things about this verbal exchange. Ziggler in particular had some really good lines. I liked how he put Rollins over. He talked him up and even called him one of the best wrestlers in the world, but he is still better. That’s better than calling your opponent a loser. But, Ziggler also flubbed a line and got lost at one point. Rollins also had some good lines talking about the relationship between Ziggler and McIntyre. But, he had too many jokes given the circumstances. He should have shifted away from the snarky humor which can work in some cases, but not here. I mean, do we really need to hear him imply multiple times that McIntyre has sex with sheep? That’s what the segment devolved into. It did set up the main event which was a match to definitely look forward to. That’s why I had mixed feelings about it, but a more serious Rollins without the sheep sex jokes would certainly have made it a Hit.
Deleters of Worlds vs. The B-Team: This is just bad. The fact that a heel team can get laughs making fun of a babyface team shows that there are major problems with the babyface team. Curtis Axel’s imitation of Matt Hardy is pretty spot on, but that’s part of the problem. His character is too easy to spoof. The spoof should be more over the top and silly than what you are spoofing, but you can’t in this case. His lines pretending to be Hardy could easily be exchanged for Hardy’s actual lines and nobody would notice a difference. That’s not how parody is supposed to work. And neither team comes across as clearly the babyface or clearly the heel. WWE hasn’t given us a reason to care about this match.
Balor – Corbin: This is another Extreme Rules match that leaves me cold. The basis of the match is that Baron Corbin thinks Finn Balor is short and Balor thinks Corbin looks like a TGI Friday’s waiter. That’s it. The interview with Balor and Bobby Roode before the tag match wasn’t good. I did like how Roode teased saying Glorious, before correcting Renee Young that he was going to say Victorious. That was slightly amusing, but the rest of the interview didn’t make me connect with either of them. It was odd how Roode interrupted Balor at the start of it. It was just sort of awkward. The song from Elias was fine, but the itsy-bitsy spider bit with Corbin was bad, and not in a good heel getting heat sort of bad way. The match was solid, but not quite Hit worthy. But, it didn’t make me want to see their PPV match any more than I did before which wasn’t very much to begin with.
Jon Mezzera is PWTorch.com’s WWE Hits & Misses Specialist, providing his point of view for Raw and Smackdown each week. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @JonMezzera.
NOW CHECK OUT LAST WEEK’S COLUMN: WWE RAW HITS & MISSES 7/2: Reigns & Rollins vs. Ziggler & McIntyre, AOP vs. Titus Worldwide, Bayley-Banks, Revival, Reigns’s promo